Influential angels form Anglia Capital Group to target Norfolk and Suffolk’s top innovators

First views of the new Centrum building at Norwich Research Park. Photo: Bill Smith

First views of the new Centrum building at Norwich Research Park. Photo: Bill Smith

East Anglia's growing reputation for innovation has been handed a significant boost after a band of influential investors decided to expand into the region.

Founders behind the Cambridge Capital Group (CCG) – which helped transform a number of start up businesses into global success stories – have set up an operation in Norwich, targeting the east's cutting-edge sectors

Spearheaded by Struan McDougall, the newly-formed Anglia Capital Group aims to match 12 angel investors in Norfolk and Suffolk with pioneering businesses in the agri-tech, food, life sciences, health, adavanced manufacturing and energy sectors.

And its presence has already been felt, with CCG helping specialist Norfolk manufacturer Frank Dale Foods access capital to break into new markets with major airlines and upmarket retailers.

The Anglia group was formed after CCG won a tender from New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to become its partner in a £1m co-investment fund, which will see angel investors providing 50pc of the risk capital and New Anglia Capital providing the remaining 50pc.

Since 2001, CCG has invested £16m into more than 50 high-growth business across Cambridgeshire – many technology start-ups which have become AIM listed companies.

Mr McDougall, managing director of the Anglia Capital Group, based in the Centrum building at the Norwich Research Park, said: 'Norfolk and Suffolk are two big successful economies and we believe there must be scale for more private investment into growth companies here. 'We think there's more commercialisation needed in the Norwich Research Park – we are already seeing the University of East Anglia becoming more commercial and growth companies emerging from the likes of the Hethel Engineering Centre and Orbis Energy in Lowestoft.

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'We are interested in a range of sectors, but the key thing for all our investors, whether it be mainstream companies or disruptive firms, is they have to have a difference.'

Previous CCG success stories include Cambridge-based Phonetic Arts – a software company creating voices for computers – which was bought by technology-giant Google in 2010.

Sponsored by Larking Gowen, Mills & Reeve, NW Brown and Novagraaf, Anglia Capital Group hopes to grow its angel network to 30 or 40 investors by the end of 2015.

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